In the past number of years, Clare Rothschild has produced two specific works that cohere directly with my research interests: Didache and Hebrews. Both of these volumes are published through Mohr Siebeck and will more than likely be quite helpful for the study of early Christianity.

Hebrews as Pseudepigraphon

Hebrews as Pseudepigraphon: The History and Significance of the Pauline Attribution of Hebrews. WUNT I 235. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009. Pp. XVII–287. ISBN: 978-3-16-149826-8. 89,00 €.

I was first introduced in this book when I too began work on the reception of Hebrews in the 2nd century. This book was one that I returned to many times with methodological questions and imitation patterns. I found this book to be a kind of New Testament and Early Christianity Disneyland. It focused on Hebrews. It was historical critical and part of the biblical studies thread. It engaged MS data. It offered comments on the reception of Hebrews up through Augustine and Jerome.

Having the impetus of such project in the postscript of Hebrews (Heb 13:20–25), Rothschild’s main aim is that the author of Hebrews composed the postscript in such a way to imitate Paul and appear similar to one of his prison epistles. In this volume, Rothschild convincingly demonstrates that the Hebrew’s pre-fourth century Western rejection is merely an unsustainable argument. For the major portions of the earliest expressions of the church, Paul was deemed the author of Hebrews.

This volume, by no means, is aimed at suggesting the historical Paul is the author of Hebrews. Rather, it recognizes how the earliest traditions generally affirmed Pauline authorship and how Hebrews has close affinities to Paul’s undisputed letters, Acts, and generally coheres with early Paulinisms. It is without doubt that discussions of Hebrews authorship and reception of Hebrews will regularly consult and glean from Rothschild’s contribution.

Chapter Division:

  1. Introduction
  2. Early Reception History of Hebrews: Rejected in West?
  3. History of Scholarship: status quaestionis of the Pauline Attribution of Hebrews
  4. Literary Dependence: The Imitation of Paul in Hebrews
  5. Hebrews as Pseudepigraphon
  6. Prophecy and Authorship in Hebrews
  7. Reductio ad Absurdum
  8. Conclusion

New Essays on the Apostolic Fathers

New Essays on the Apostolic Fathers. WUNT I 375. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. Pp. XVI–304. ISBN: 978-3-16-155134-5. 129,00 €.

This collection of articles was the product of a course that she taught at Lewis University in 2015. Rothschild developed a number of ideas that stimulated initial curiosities. She presented ch. 12, “Travelers and Christ-Mongers in Didache 12:1–5” at SBL Atlanta 2015—which I attended. It was helpful to review my notes from the session and to see the final product.

In this essay on the Didache, she explores the history of interpretation of Did. 12.1–5, the two neologisms (παρόδιος and χριστέμπορος), and suggests a reading that is sensitive to the literary context and dissolves concerns of the sections integrity.

Although my primary criticism of this chapter bears no direct counter to her thesis, her suggestion of the structural analysis of Didache neglects to incorporate the essential discussions of this debate. More specifically, she offers no assessment or incorporation of Nancy Pardee’s The Genre and Development of Didache, whereby Pardee applies discourse analysis text delimitation to the whole of the Didache in order to structure the Didache. For example, Rothschild does not offer the normal, and generally accepted structure of the Didache’s Two Ways, the problem of Did. 6.3, or the structure of Did. 15–16.

Regardless of these passing comments, Rothschild’s recent work predominantly focuses upon 1 Clement and will need to land on anyone’s desk that is seriously researching the Apostolic Fathers. This volume will place Rothschild’s voice immediately into Apostolic Father’s discussions for years to come.

Chapter Division:

  1. Introduction
  2. On the Invention of Patres Apostolici
  3. Reception of First Corinthians in First Clement
  4. 1 Clement as Pseudepigraphon
  5. Παιδεία as Solution to Στάσις in 1 Clement
  6. Golden Calf Incident in 1 Clement
  7. “Where Their Worm Dieth Not”: The Phoenix Legend in 1 Clement 25
  8. “Belittling” or “Undervaluing” in 2 Clem. 1:1–2?
  9. Two dispositions in 2 Clement 2
  10. Sailing Past the Competition: Eueretism in 2 Clement 7
  11. Evaluating Masculinity: The Quintus Incident in Light of the Second Sophistic
  12. Travelers and Christ-Mongers in Didache 12:1–5
  13. Epistle of Barnabas and Secession through Allegory
  14. Diognetus and the Topos of the Invisible God
  15. Somatic Effects of Irascibility in Hermas, Mandates 5.1.3 (33.3).

About the Author:
Shawn J. Wilhite

Shawn J. Wilhite is currently Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University. His research interests include New Testament and Early Christianity, Epistle to Hebrews, History of New Testament Interpretation, Early Christian and Patristic Hermeneutics, and the Apostolic Fathers.

Shawn J. Wilhite